It was a dress rehearsal of sorts Monday night for the re-enactment of the world's most well-known birthday. Pleasant Hill Baptist Church of DeRidder is putting on a drive-thru nativity scene.
"It's basically a gift for our community. We want to just share Jesus with our community in a unique way," said Pastor Danny Wilson, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
Wilson said it has taken the better part of a year to plan with more than 1,000 man-hours put in so far.
"It was exciting to come into church every few days and say, 'Oh, look, we have a carpenter shop,' or 'Oh, look, we have a pottery shop...' or 'We have a basket weaving shop,' or 'What's that going to be?' It was nice to see a city come to life," said Kimberly Bush.
With shepards, wise men, all the way down to Mary and Joseph - more than 125 church members will make it happen.
"I run the grist mill with my helpers, and we grind up the wheat for the bakery right next door, so they can have bread to sell," said 11-year-old Drew Ensminger.
As guests drive through, a CD will narrate the Christmas story, but bringing this large scale production to life will be real, live animals.
"You can expect sheep and goats and a lot of chickens. A donkey, a little horse... A calf and there will be some surprises too. Our wrangler is bringing in all kinds of things. However, we won't have a camel," said Susan Wilson, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
The congregation hopes people will leave with the true meaning of Christmas.
"And, if one person is saved it would be worth the effort we have put into it," said Young.
The drive-thru nativity scene is free to the public. It kicks off this Friday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will continue the following two weekends, including Sundays.
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church is located at 3261 Highway 171, about four miles south of DeRidder.
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